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Man about town

CEO’s failed bid to fish for information on ‘rival’ fails

 

I have been a bit anxious since I have not heard anything from the recruiter. I had hoped that once I had worked on my CV, they would get back to me within a couple of days with a long list of opportunities, but that has not happened. I have to constantly resist the temptation to call them and find out the status, but Shiro is against such a tactic.

She said: “ Calling to remind them makes you seem desperate.”

“But I am desperate,” I responded.

She laughed and said, “You must not let them know.”

I guess I will have to wait until they call me back.

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This wait is not made easier by developments in the office. A few weeks ago, we had a numbers review. The CEO said we needed to look at our number and “align our story” before sharing with the board members. I always marvel at how often this line comes up and how we are always looking “for the story” to sell. This time, since I am acting Finance Manager, I had to work on the “story” with the CEO checking on me every half hour.

It was during one of those review sessions I had one of what I like to call “weird” conversations with the CEO.

My antennae went up when he started sharing too much personal information. He started off by telling me how he has sent off his family back to Europe on holiday and how they are enjoying the summer. To be honest, I find these conversations super tedious because they pave the way for an “interrogation” especially because the CEO never asks me about my family. After about 20 minutes of this chat, he asked me,” Josphat, my man, can I ask you a question?” Just as I expected, the interrogation was here.

He asked me about some guy by the name Johannes. He asked me, “ Do you know this guy named Johannes who works for some company in Mombasa?”

He gave me a few descriptors about the company, the guy’s role, but nothing seemed to come to my mind. He said, “funny you don’t seem to know the guy, I hear he was in your university class.”

I laughed and said, “ We were over 400 students in my class, so I cannot remember.”

I had to ask the boss, “anyway, why should I know him?”

He told me, “I have heard in the grapevine that the board wants to replace me with him, he might be your new CEO.”

The CEO pretended to laugh but I could tell he was a bit unnerved by these developments. His voice dropped to a whisper as he said, “some of the board members who are my true friends (unlike others) have told me that the chairman has been talking to this Johannes fellow to get him to take over from me.” This did not sound good, but I was not going to offer a view or offer advice on the issue.

I got more concerned when the CEO said, “I have also found out that my work permit is yet to be renewed- even if we applied two months ago.”

I tried to reassure him as I said, “ you know Matiang’i (Interior Cabinet Secretary) has tightened the noose on abuse of work permits.”

He was bordering on paranoid as he said, “ I think the chairman has something to do with the delay, he is connected.”

By this time, I was not sure what to do or say so I just listened. Only at the end of his monologue did I figure out what the CEO wanted. He wanted me to get “ dirt” on Johannes and find a way of “leaking” it to the chairman. I was not sure what to make of this. He did not even ask me if I was okay with espionage all he said as he left is , “ we have not spoken. Keep your lips sealed.”

I did not have an apt response to his request, so I stayed quiet and watched him walk out.

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